Law

Law
6:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

State House passes bill denying juvenile lifers sentenced before 2012 shot at parole

Still Burning Flickr

So-called “juvenile lifers” in Michigan would not get a chance at parole under a bill approved Tuesday by the state House. That’s unless the Michigan Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court rule otherwise.

Read more
Law
11:51 am
Tue February 4, 2014

I-96 shooter Raulie Casteel sentenced to prison in Oakland Co., awaits Livingston Co. sentencing

Livingston County Sheriff's Department

A man who shot at drivers along I-96 and connecting roads in 2012 has been sentenced to 80 to 120 months in prison in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Raulie Casteel pleaded no contest but mentally ill to assault and firearms charges last year.

There were nearly two dozen shootings in 2012 that terrified the region for weeks, but no one was seriously hurt.

Casteel's lawyer maintains that Casteel's undiagnosed mental illness prompted his criminal behavior and the shooting incidents.

Casteel still awaits sentencing in Livingston County. He was convicted there last week of terrorism in a related case. He faces up to life in prison for that conviction and is expected to be sentenced next month.

Read more
Law
4:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Strong interest in new peacemaking court in Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County Judge Timothy Connors and Chief Judge Michael Petoskey of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians, confer at Friday's peacemaking education session.
Credit Virginia Gordan

There appears to be a lot of interest in a new kind of court in Washtenaw County.

More than 80 lawyers, mediators, and probation officers packed Judge Timothy Connors' courtroom on Friday.

They were there for a six-hour education session on the Native American philosophy that guides the new peacemaking court. 

Read more
Law
3:59 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Environmentalists convicted on trespassing and obstruction charges stemming from pipeline protest

Members of MI-Cats hugged each other and cried outside the courthouse in Mason after the jury delivered it's guilty verdicts.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An Ingham County jury today convicted a trio of environmentalists on charges related to a 2013 protest. 

Last July, the protesters attached themselves to equipment at an Enbridge oil pipeline construction site near Stockbridge.  The protesters are opposed to the shipment of Canadian tar sands oil through Michigan.

They were charged with trespassing and obstruction after staying put after officers told them to leave.   

Read more
Law
4:43 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Michigan Supreme Court takes right-to-work case

Michigan Supreme Court
photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the right-to-work law applies to 34,000 state civil service workers.

The court ordered the state and public employee unions to file briefs in anticipation of oral arguments later this year. The unions are appealing a lower court decision from last summer. It said the right-to-work law does apply to state civil service workers. The law says workers do not have to pay union dues or fees to hold a job, although the union is still obligated to represent them.

State employee unions say the law is trumped by the Michigan Constitution – specifically, the provision that says the Michigan Civil Service Commission sets the work rules for state employees. The court will also hear a union challenge to the state law that requires civil service workers to contribute more of their paychecks toward their pensions, or have their retirement benefits reduced.

Law
4:14 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Jury convicts I-96 shooter Raulie Casteel

myfoxdc.com

HOWELL, Mich. – A jury has convicted a man of terrorism and other charges for shooting at vehicles along a southeast Michigan highway corridor in a series of attacks that terrified the region in late 2012.

Raulie Casteel faces up to life in prison after the jury's verdict Wednesday in Livingston County Circuit Court in Howell. He was also convicted of several gun charges that he didn't contest.

Casteel testified that at the time of the shootings, he believed the other motorists were part of a government conspiracy against him. He says he fired at vehicles to back them off, not to hurt anyone.

No one was seriously injured. Casteel, of Wixom, says he has been getting psychiatric treatment.

Law
2:21 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Jurors gets rerun of freeway shooter's testimony

Livingston County Sheriff's Department

HOWELL, Mich. – Jurors deciding the case of a man who shot at nearly two dozen vehicles along a Michigan highway corridor have listened to his testimony again.

The Livingston County jury broke for lunch Wednesday after privately listening to Raulie Casteel's testimony for more than two hours. He's charged with terrorism and attempted murder.

Deliberations began Tuesday but were suspended while Casteel's testimony was played for the jury at the court building in Howell, 30 miles east of Lansing.

The 44-year-old Casteel says he fired at vehicles because he thought they were part of a government conspiracy against him.

No one was seriously hurt, but the shootings scared those living near Interstate 96.

Law
8:48 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Bill would require candidates to declare felonies

The state House could vote soon on a measure to require political candidates to reveal felony convictions that occurred within the prior 10 years.   

The bill would require candidates to indicate the convictions when they file to run for office. Convictions that are expunged or sealed by a court order would be exempt.

State Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., sponsored the bill. 

“We’re trying to make sure the electorate knows who we are, and we’re being transparent,” said Kesto, a former prosecutor. “Because when it comes to criminal activity, it comes to the integrity of certain individuals who are the candidates, and we should be held to a higher standard.”

Kesto says the measure is not aimed at anyone in particular. However, there is a House Democrat, state Rep. Brian Banks, D-Detroit, whose eight felonies for fraud remained a secret until late in his primary campaign.

Law
2:00 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

More options, protections against heat shutoffs this winter – but no guarantees

Michigan customers who struggle to pay heating bills have some additional legal protections from heat shutoffs this winter.

But with the ongoing brutal cold, this will prove a painful winter for people already struggling to pay utility bills. And some households still face the very real prospect of going without heat.

In 2013, the state implemented a variety of new rules outlining how and when utilities can shut off service to residential customers.

Read more
Law
1:59 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Group calls Michigan's African-American homicide rate a public health crisis

African-Americans in Michigan are murdered at one of the highest rates in the nation. That's according to a study from the Violence Policy Center.

The Center says 31 of every 100,000 black Michiganders was a homicide victim in 2011. That's twice the national rate for blacks and seven times the rate for Americans overall.

Josh Sugarmann is the Center's executive director. He says this is part of a public health crisis in America.

Read more
Law
6:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

New report details 'abusive' surveillance of former Detroit police commissioner

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The former chairman of Detroit’s Police Board of Commissioners was the target of inappropriate surveillance, according to a new report.

The report, from Detroit’s Office of Inspector General, confirms that Jerome Warfield was the subject of police surveillance on “multiple occasions” in early 2013.

Read more
Law
12:06 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Where is Teleka Patrick?

Police believe this picture of Teleka Patrick was taken either last summer or fall after she arrived in Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Dept.

The search for a missing Kalamazoo medical student is generating few clues nearly two months after she disappeared. 

Teleka Patrick was last seen December 5, 2013.  Her car was found by the side of the road in northern Indiana in early December.

News stories about Patrick’s “erratic behavior,” including a personal protection order to keep her away from a popular Grand Rapids pastor, have drawn national attention.

Read more
Law
12:01 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Canadian trucking company slammed with $75,000 Asian carp fine

Asian carp
Credit DNR

A Canadian court has slammed a trucking company and one of its drivers with a combined $75,000 fine for trying to haul live Asian carp across the U.S.-Canadian border.

Driver Yong-Sheng Zhang is with the Edmonton, Alberta-based Alltheway Trucking Inc.

Twice in early 2012, Zhang crossed the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, with a truckload of fish from Arkansas. The fish were packed in ice, and included two species of Asian carp.

Read more
Law
2:08 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Flint taking a look at pawn shops and scrap yards

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may soon propose new regulations on pawn shops and scrap yards.

Flint police chief James Tolbert says he’s concerned about “the crime behind the crime” of burglaries in the city.

He’s looking at a new ordinance for city pawn shops and scrap yards.

“We’re working on a way where we can better monitor what goes in and goes out,” says Tolbert, though he declined to say exactly how that would be done.

Tolbert says he’s also been talking with other Genesee County chiefs of police about the problem.

Read more
Law
11:25 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Flint substitute teacher accused of duct taping students' mouths

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Flint substitute teacher is facing a variety of charges, including assault and battery, for allegedly duct taping the mouths of several elementary school students on several occasions last year.

A 15 count warrant was authorized on Wednesday.     The incidents allegedly occurred at Flint's Brownell Elementary School.   The unnamed teacher was fired by the Flint school district in December.

Flint city attorney Peter Bade says during the subsequent investigation, the teacher claimed that the school’s principal had placed duct tape on the teacher's mouth.

Law
3:35 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy judge rejects deal with banks

Credit Michigan Radio

A judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy again rejected a deal Thursday to get the city out of a disastrous financial agreement with major banks.

Judge Steven Rhodes turned down a more than $165 million compromise, saying "it's just too much money," about 67 cents on every dollar owed to the banks as of Dec. 31. He had rejected a $230 million deal in December.

He encouraged the city and banks to keep negotiating. After making his decision, he cleared the courtroom to talk privately to lawyers.

Read more
Law
5:57 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Appeals court sides with Snyder over teachers’ unions

Joe Gratz Flickr

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a law that requires teachers and public school employees to pay more for their retirement health and pension benefits.

The law was challenged by teachers’ unions, which say it illegally changes public school employees’ contracts without their consent. The 2012 law requires teachers to pay more for their benefits, accept lower retirement health and pension benefits, or move into a defined contribution 401 (k) plan. The law has been a big tension point between teachers’ unions and the Snyder administration.      

Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration says it was a necessary measure to get a handle on long-term retirement costs. The administration says it reduces unfunded liabilities by $15 billion, and makes the system more stable. 

Law
12:30 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Ex-head of Grand Rapids-based chairmaker sues another furniture company after chair breaks

U.S. Furniture's catalog photo of the model of chair that Miller claims broke and caused his injuries.
U.S. Furniture Inc.

The founder of a Michigan chair company is suing another furniture company after falling out of a chair and hurting his back.

David Miller, former president of Grand Rapids Chair Company, filed a lawsuit this week against Wisconsin-based retailer Menard’s and California-based manufacturer U.S. Furniture Inc.

Read more
Law
5:01 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments in grandparents' visitation case

Michigan Supreme Court (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court will consider a case tomorrow involving a grandparent’s right to have visitation with a grandchild.

In the case, the parents of a man whose parental rights to his two children were terminated sued for visitation. The man’s parental rights were terminated following allegations of physical abuse. He has since died.

Read more
Law
4:14 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Highway shooter on trial in Livingston County

Raulie Casteel from a previous court appearance last November.
Credit myfoxdc.com

Jury selection began today in the trial of a man charged with a series of shootings on and around Interstate 96.

Raulie Casteel, 44,  is on trial in Livingston County Circuit Court in Howell.

The state attorney general's office is prosecuting him on terrorism and other charges.

In an effort not to taint the jury pool, attorneys are questioning each prospective juror individually at the judge's bench.

Casteel pleaded no-contest last November to related charges in Oakland County and is awaiting a sentence.

Read more

Pages